MOOD MAIDEN TAKES A CRUISE

About 10 years ago I started experiencing some strange and new changes in my moods and behavior. It felt like my moods were more in control of me than I was of them. One minute I felt calm, the next I felt literally panicked. The next minute I was ready to injure someone, and then I’d do a quick spiral into depression. That just wasn’t me—I was used to staying pretty calm under most circumstances. I was used to being more in control. I also had other physical symptoms that were foreign to me, so I went to the doctor and he matter-of-factly said, “You’re in the beginning stages of menopause. You can expect to deal with these symptoms for at least the next 15 years. Have a nice day.”

Well, a giant light bulb went off in my foggy brain as I recalled this woman or that woman whose behavior and rationale seemed a bit “off” to me at the time. Now I knew why they were the way they were! Then I went home and told my husband. He was walking toward me when I told him the news and he suddenly froze—he didn’t even blink. I asked him what was going on, and he said he was pausing. He said, “That’s why they call it menopause—men must take pause to try and figure out what the “beep” is going on!” Okay, I had to laugh at that one. I knew I was handful, and, actually, he was (and still is) very sweet and tolerant and understanding. Unlike some men.

A few days later I was at work researching titles online and came across what I thought was a hilarious video cover. It fully showed the degree of mood swing I could experience in a matter of seconds, and it didn’t take much to set it off. After laughing out loud over the cover, I decided to print it off and tape it to the door to my office, as a joke. Below it I wrote: Enter at your own risk!

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I found it interesting that when men entered my office, they’d have a look of fear, worry, and caution. They seemed braced for a blast and wanted to be ready to run. They didn’t see the humor (maybe it hit too close to home). But when women entered, they’d walk in briskly and burst out laughing—they knew. They got it. And we’d each have a good laugh of camaraderie and sisterhood kinship.

Well, over the years I’ve, of course, tried numerous remedies for having more even-keeled and predictable moods, and some things have helped a little, but nothing transforming to write home about. Until I began this new lifestyle eating change. Since weaning off of caffeine and eliminating gluten, sugar (I’ve never been a big sugar eater anyway), and dairy, one of the most significant changes I’ve noticed in myself are my moods. I seem to have only one most of the time, no matter how stressful or crazy my day gets. Think of a flat line on a heart monitor. No I’m not dead, but that’s how level my emotions and moods have been for the past several months. It’s been smooth sailing and I’m lovin’ it. (So is my husband.) I don’t have an office with a door anymore, but if I did, I’d post this cover on it:

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So if you’re having playful thoughts about whether you might try this lifestyle change for yourself, consider the benefit of emotional calm. Like lying in a hammock on a sunny day, every day. It’s totally worth it.

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